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What are New York Public Records?

In line with the New York Freedom of Information Law, New York public records include any information kept, held, filed, produced, or reproduced by state or local agencies — except where restricted by law. New York public records can be in typewritten, handwritten, or in electronic format. The grounds for redaction of certain parts of a public record include:

  • Personal privacy
  • Interference with contract awards or union negotiations
  • Law enforcement records, but only if disclosure would:
  • Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings
  • Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication
  • Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information related to a criminal investigation
  • Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures.
  • Inter-agency or intra-agency materials (internal communications or memos), except when the agency must disclose:
  • Factual information
  • Instruction to staff that affect the public
  • Final agency policy or determinations
  • External audits

New York Crime Statistics

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) provides the statistics of crimes that happened within the city on a weekly to yearly basis. The crime statistics for New York City in 2019 reveals that a total number of 95,606 crimes were reported in the city. This includes 36,143 violent crimes and 59,463 property crimes. The violent crimes consist of 319 murders, 1,755 rapes, 13,371 robberies, and 20,698 aggravated assaults. The property crimes include 10,783 burglaries, 43,250 larcenies, and 5,430 motor vehicle thefts.

These figures, when compared with 2015, show a massive decline in crimes reported in New York City. In 2015, the total number of violent crimes reported were 38,991, including 352 murders (-9%), 1,438 rapes (22%), 16,931 robberies (-21%), and 20,270 aggravated assaults (2%). While property crimes reported were 66,462, including 15,125 burglaries (-29%), 44,005 larcenies (-2%), and 7,332 motor vehicle thefts (-26%).

Are New York Criminal Records Public?

Access to New York criminal records varies on a case-by-case basis. The qualification of what constitutes a public record depends on the custodial office. For instance, the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services allows interested persons to request suppressed (sealed) or unsuppressed (unsealed) criminal records through the personal record review system. This service is available only to the subject of the record and certain law enforcement agencies. It provides comprehensive information about the record’s subject. On the other hand, the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) allows third parties to make criminal history record searches (CHRS) on behalf of another person. Persons arrested or detained by the NYPD may request their criminal records at the Department’s Office.

How to Obtain New York Police Reports and Arrest Records?

New York arrest records, police reports, and criminal records are available to the public through various platforms provided by public agencies. Interested persons may get collision reports recorded before September 30, 2016, online, by mail, or in person through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Online requests cost $7 for searches and $15 for each report. Simply use the online portal to process requests. Mail requests attract a fee of $10 per search and $15 per report. Make mail requests by completing the Request for Copy of Accident Report (MV-198C). Provide information about:

  • The date of the crash/accident;
  • The county where the crash/accident happened;
  • And one of the following information:
  • The plate number of a vehicle involved in the crash/accident
  • The driver license number of a person who was involved in the crash/accident
  • Name and date of birth of a person who was involved in the crash/accident

To make an in-person request, submit a request in writing to:

NYSDMV, MV-198 C Processing
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

The NYPD processes requests for Collision Reports recorded after September 30, 2016, through the NYPD Collision Report website. Simply fill out the necessary sections to obtain the report. A requester can also complete the Request for Collision Record form, select either “Police Report” or “Motor Vehicle Collision Report” and submit two copies by mail to the NYPD. It should be mailed with a self-addressed stamped envelope and a valid ID.

In addition, the Criminal Records Section of the NYPD maintains police reports on crime and lost property. Request a crime or lost property report online or by mail. Complete the Verification of Crime/Lost Property form to make a mail request. The form is also available at any police precinct, Housing Bureau public service area, or Transit Bureau district. Mail two copies of copies of the completed form with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

NYPD / Criminal Records Section
One Police Plaza
Room 303
New York, NY 10038
(646) 610-5200

The New York City Records and Information Services allows interested persons to request public records online. A requester simply has to fill out all necessary information about the request and other personal information.

The NYPD also provides access to criminal fingerprints and checks at the city level. The DCJS and the OCA provide this service at the state level.

How to Find Sex Offender Information in New York?

The DCJS maintains the New York Public Registry of Sex Offenders. New York sex offender information is classified into risk levels, between Levels 1-3. The risk level is given by a judge to each registered sex offender. The public sex offenders registry provides information on Levels 2 and 3 sex offenders only. Interested persons may search the registry with the sex offender’s last name, county, or zip code.

To obtain information about Level 1 sex offenders, residents may call (800) 262-3257. Call requests are processed between Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Requesters must provide the following information:

  • The individual’s name, and one of:
  • The individual’s address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number, or
  • Social Security number

How to Find New York Inmate Records?

The New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) provides access to the current location of inmates in DOC custody, along with basic case information through the inmate lookup portal. New York inmate records are accessible to the general public. Simply provide the NYSID or Book & Case Number or the first and last name of the inmate.

How Do I Visit an Inmate in New York Jail?

To visit an inmate at any of the DOC facility locations, visit the facility that the inmate is located. Take a valid ID along and speak to the Correction Officer or Supervisor. Visiting days are from Wednesday to Sunday.

Court Records

As part of the New York State Unified Court System, New York City and County courts provide the general public with access to various kinds of New York court records. They include civil records, administrative records, criminal records, domestic relations records, probate records, and traffic records.

Locations of Courts in New York

The courts in New York City and Court include six Supreme Courts, one Family Court, Surrogate's Court, four City Civil Courts, and three City Criminal Courts. The addresses and contact information of these courts are below:

New York County Supreme Courts
New York County Supreme Court - Civil Branch
80 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-3685
Fax: (212) 374-3326

New York County Supreme Court - Civil Branch
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-3685
Fax: (212) 374-3326

New York County Supreme Court - Civil Branch
71 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-3770
Fax: (212) 374-3326

New York County Supreme Court - Civil Branch
60 Centre Street
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (646) 386-3600
Fax: (212) 374-3326

New York County Supreme Court - Criminal Term
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-4300
Fax: (212) 374-2637

New York County Supreme Court - Criminal Term
100 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-4000
Fax: (212) 374-0667

New York County Family Court
New York County Family Court
60 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-5200
Fax: (212) 748-5272

New York County Surrogate’s Court
New York County Surrogate’s Court
31 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (646) 386-5000
Fax: (212) 374-3250

Civil Courts of the City of New York in New York County
New York City Civil Court
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10035
Phone: (646) 386-5600

New York City Civil Court - Harlem Community Justice Center
170 East 121st Street
New York, NY 10035
Phone: (212) 360-4113

New York City Civil Court - Housing Part
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-5500
Fax: (212) 374-1623

New York City Civil Court - Small Claims Part
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-5484

Criminal Courts of the City of New York in New York County
New York City Criminal Court
100 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-4511
Fax: (212) 374-5293

New York City Criminal Court
346 Broadway Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-4511
Fax: (212) 374-5293

New York City Criminal Court - Midtown Community Court
314 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (646) 264-1300
Fax: (212) 484-2791

Are New York City Court Records Public?

The majority of New York court records are open to the public. This is however subject to certain exceptional cases. New York court records are accessible to the general public under Section 255 of the New York Judiciary Law. It however restricts public access to New York court records with elements of confidentiality in them.

Can you look up a New York Court case online?

The New York Unified Court System provides online access to New York court records through the E-filed Case Records Guest Search. There are however some court records that are only available at the courthouse. These court records can be obtained by making a request to the court through its clerk.

The New York State Supreme Court and the County Clerk of New York also provide free public access to court records through the Supreme Court Records On-Line Library (SCROLL).

How to Obtain New York City Civil Court Case Records?

New York Civil Court case records are available at the courthouse where the case was addressed. To request a civil case record, visit the court and provide relevant and specific information about the record. The Clerk of the Court decides the fees and payment methods for each court record. Contact the appropriate court to make inquiries.

The New York County Clerk maintains court records of the Supreme Courts, while the Family Court, Surrogate’s Court, City Civil Courts, and City Criminal Courts each have their own court clerks. Individuals interested in obtaining these court records should query the Clerk’s office at:

New York County Courthouse
60 Centre Street
Room 161
New York, NY 10007
(646) 386-5955

How to Obtain New York City Criminal Court Records?

The OCA provides access to criminal court records through criminal history record searches (CHRS). This is accessible to the public. There are however exceptions to the information that can be obtained. A CHRS can be done online, via mail, or in person. The Criminal History Record Search - Direct Access website is the portal to make requests for criminal court records. If you are a new user, create an account before they can carry out searches. A requester needs the full name and date of birth of the record’s subject to conduct a search. Each search request attracts a fee of $95. The acceptable means of payment are credit or debit card, or by using a checking account (ACH).

For mail or walk-in requests, fill out the Criminal History Record Search (CHRS) application form and submit it to:

Criminal History Record Search
NYS Office of Court Administration
Office of Administrative Services
Criminal History Record Search
25 Beaver Street (Room 840 - Front Desk)
New York, NY 10004

The office is open from Monday to Friday; between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A criminal court record costs $95, payable by check or money order to the NYS Office of Court Administration. It is important to provide the precise name and date of birth of the record’s subject. Each request is processed within one business day.

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What are New York Vital Records?

New York vital records are official documents that comprise recorded information about life events within the city. They include divorce decrees, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and death certificates. These records are maintained by government agencies or departments at the city and state levels. To obtain copies of any of these records, follow the instructions provided by the custodian's office.

Where and How to Obtain New York Divorce Records?

The New York County Clerk maintains records of divorces that took place within the county. New York divorce records are available to the record subject(s) and persons with court order authorization only. New York divorce records are categorized into two types: divorce decrees and divorce certificates. Interested person may request divorce decrees in person or by mail from the New York County Clerk at:

New York County Clerk
60 Centre Street
Room 161
New York, NY 10007
(646) 386-5955

The New York State Department of Health maintains the state divorce certificates in its Vital Records Certification Unit. Copies of divorce certificates are available through mail or in-person requests. Complete the Divorce Records Request form and include the required fees ($45 for walk-ins and $30 for mail request) and a government-issued ID. Submit them in person or by mail to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Where and How to Get Public New York Marriage Records?

The New York City Clerk maintains all certificates or records of marriages performed within New York City between 1949 to date. New York marriage certificates older than 50 years are considered public historic records. Interested persons may request marriage records in person, by mail, or online. A marriage record for domestic use costs $15 for the first copy and $10 for each additional copy. A marriage record for foreign use costs $35 for the first copy and $30 for each additional copy.

To make an in-person or mail request, complete the Request for Marriage Records. Include the required fee (paid credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk) and a valid ID. Submit them in person at any of the office locations of the City Clerk or by mail to:

City Clerk of New York
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
Attn: Record Room

Interested persons can search marriage records that are not in the custody of the City Clerk by using the New York City Records and Information Services’ online order portal. They provide historical records of marriages that mostly occurred either before 1937 (licenses) or 1949 (certificates). The office of the Records and Information Services is located at:

31 Chambers Street
Room 103
New York, NY 10007

Marriage records are also available at the state level with the New York Department of Health. Interested persons may submit in-person or mail requests to obtain copies of marriage records. A requester should complete the Marriage Record Application Form and enclose the required fees ($45 for walk-ins and $30 for mail request) and a government-issued ID. Mail or submit them in person to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Acceptable ID could be any of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • Non-driver photo ID (state-issued)
  • Passport
  • U.S. Military-issued photo ID

Acceptable payment methods include:

  • Walk-In Orders: Check, money order, or cash
  • Mail Orders: Personal or certified check, money order addressed to the NYS Department of Health. Requesters who want to order from other countries are required to pay by check (drawn on a US bank) or money order (international)

Where and How to Get Confidential Marriage Records in New York?

New York marriage records within 50 years to date are considered confidential records. Access to them is limited to the following persons:

  • One of the married persons;
  • A person with a written, notarized authorization from either of the married persons;
  • Attorneys in cases where the marriage record are required as evidence
  • Persons that require it for judicial or other proper purposes.

For one of the married persons, present the appropriate fee and a photocopy of proper identification. This should be accompanied by all the information about the wedding and the location of the City Clerk’s office where you first obtained the license.

For the authorized person category, the married person who gave the authorization must provide the authorized person with a signed and notarized original consent letter. You can check out a sample consent letter. The letter should contain the name of the authorized person and the name on their means of identification. Payment will be made to the City Clerk.

For attorneys, all that is required is an original signed letter using a letterhead making this statement: “The Marriage Record is required as evidence in a legal proceeding”.

Where the marriage record is needed for judicial or other property purposes, the original letter of the agency requesting the record should be presented.

Where and How to Find New York Birth Records?

The New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides copies of New York birth records from 1909 to date. Make in-person or mail requests to get New York birth certificates. A birth record costs $15. A requester should complete and notarize the New York Birth Certificate Application form. Enclose a form of identification (a list is provided on the second page of the form), payment, and a self-addressed stamped envelope (mail requests). Submit these documents to:

Office of Vital Records
125 Worth Street, CN-4, Room 133
New York, NY 10013-4090

Make payments with money order or personal check made payable in U.S. dollars to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Interested persons can order New York birth certificates that are not at the office of the New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from the New York City Records and Information Services’ online order portal. It has historical records of births that mostly happened before 1909.

The New York State Department of Health also provides interested persons with access to New York birth records. It accepts mail and in-person requests. Interested persons should fill out the Birth Record Application Form. Attach the required fees ($45 for walk-ins and $30 for mail requests) and a government-issued ID to the filled-out form. Submit to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Acceptable government-issued IDs include any of the options below:

  • Driver’s license
  • Non-driver photo ID (state-issued)
  • Passport
  • U.S. Military-issued photo ID

Payment can be made through any of the following means:

  • Walk-In Orders: Check, money order, or cash
  • Mail Orders: Personal or certified check, money order addressed to the NYS Department of Health. Requesters who want to order from other countries are required to pay by check (drawn on a US bank) or money order (international)

Where and How to Find New York Death Records?

The New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the primary custodian of New York death certificates from 1949 to date. A New York death record costs $15 per copy. Only the following persons can access a New York death record:

  • The deceased’s spouse or domestic partner
  • The deceased’s parent or grandparent
  • The deceased’s child or grandchild
  • The deceased’s sibling
  • An informant listed on the death certificate
  • A person in control of disposition

Requests for death records can be made in person or by mail. Complete and notarize the death certificate application form. Submit the completed form with payment and a valid ID to:

Office of Vital Records
Bureau of Vital Statistics
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
125 Worth Street
Room 133
New York, NY 10013

Interested persons can order birth records that are not at the office of the New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from the New York City Records and Information Services’ online order portal. It has historical records of births that mostly happened before 1948.

New York death records are also kept by the New York State Department of Health. Make mail or in-person requests to get copies of death records. An applicant should complete the Death Record Request Form. The completed form, along with any of the acceptable forms of a government-issued ID and the required fees ($45 for walk-ins and $30 for mail request) should be submitted to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Acceptable ID forms include one of the options below:

  • Driver’s license
  • Non-driver photo ID (state-issued)
  • Passport
  • U.S. Military-issued photo ID

Payment methods include:

  • Walk-In Orders: Check, money order, or cash
  • Mail Orders: Personal or certified check, money order addressed to the NYS Department of Health. Requesters who want to order from other countries are required to pay by check (drawn on a US bank) or money order (international)
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